MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

February 2, 2013

Trail project a step down right path

— City officials are seeking grant funding to build a recreational trail along Coody Creek.

It is about time.

The move comes 38 years after Muskogee voters approved a $250,000 bond issue to fund the development of a park alongside the creek.

The city bought much of the land needed, but the linear park envisioned in 1974 never materialized.

It should not take nearly 40 years to get a project done.

Parks and Recreation Director Mark Wilkerson said there is interest in picking up where past efforts left off.

“We already own the land, and the project opens the trail system up to that part of town,” Wilkerson said, noting that much of the land that would be included in the first phase of the project is clear because of recent sewer line projects.

Certainly, those two factors make the project more achievable.

The new branch would connect to Centennial Trail, have its own trail head and open the trail system to a part of town not previously served.

The creekside project fits with the community’s focus on improving residents’ fitness and health.

In March 2012, public health and wellness consultant Mark Fenton was invited to speak to different groups by the City of Muskogee Wellness Initiative.

“The good news is that with the three ‘Ps’ — programs, projects and policies — we are tending to see dramatic changes in communities and there’s I think real hope for creating places where it’s much easier to walk and bicycle as a matter of course, rather than as a matter of courage,” Fenton said.

This is a step in right direction. This project can lead to a lot of individual steps down the trail to becoming a healthier community.

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